Swimming pools for NYC families
Take a break from the summer heat at one of these swimming pools in NYC—we picked favorites in every borough!
Wed Jun 20 2012
Public pools may not be glamorous but hey, the era of swim-up bars is over for you anyway. New York City's pools are clean, well run and, best of all, free. Opening day is Thursday, June 27; grab the suits and suntan lotion and dive on in. For additional information on all oudoor city pools, call 311 or go to nyc.gov/parks.
This city's largest pool (it's 330 feet long) lies in the shadow of the midtown skyline—the RFK and Hell Gate Bridges tower in the background. Be forewarned: The pool was designed to hold 2,178 people, so on busy days, keeping tabs on little ones can be challenging. 19th St at 23rd Dr, Astoria, Queens.
Brooklyn Bridge Park Pool
Brooklyn Bridge Park's pop-up swimming pool (which opened in the summer of 2012) not only offers families a free and fun way to cool off but also one of the best views in the city—plus the option of morning kids' swimming lessons during the week. Slated to remain in the park through 2017, the swimming hole is 30 by 50 feet and 3.5 feet deep and holds a maximum of 60 people, so keeping an eye on the littlest swimmers will be easy. After a dip, families can dry off on one of the lounge chairs dotting the artificial sand beach while marveling at their proximity to the Brooklyn Bridge. Pier 2, Brooklyn Bridge Park (718-802-0603, brooklynbridgepark.org)
Douglass & Degraw
Fair-skinned tots enjoy a UV reprieve at Brooklyn's best-kept natatory secret: the "D&D," or "Double-D," pool, as it's called (cue the flotation jokes). The deck has a covered area for overcooked sunbathers that is miraculously uncrowded. Keep in mind: It's hard to see the main pool from the kiddie pool. If you bring tweens and toddlers, you might struggle to keep track of both groups at once. Thomas Greene Playground, Nevins St between Douglass and DeGraw Sts, Gowanus, Brooklyn
The Floating Pool
The barge is back in da Bronx this summer. In addition to the pool, there are locker rooms, bathrooms, showers and a snack bar. Barretto Point Park, Tiffany St at Viele Ave, Bronx.
You have to be 48 inches or taller to swim here, making it a great choice for older kids who don't want to share the water with diapered tots. For littler guys, there's a 2-foot-deep kiddie pool and a playground with sprinklers. Pitt St between E Houston and Stanton Sts
At the diving area, kids can practice cannonballs, pikes, twists and jackknives with impunity. Even when the pool is at capacity on weekend mornings, it still feels spacious. Show up with your brood around 5pm on a weekday and you'll have the place mostly to yourselves. Unfortunately, though, there's no baby pool and little shade, which means you'll find an older and rowdier crowd. FDR Dr between 76th and 78th Sts, John Jay Park.
A wade in this thawed-out ice rink overlooking the Harlem Meer in Central Park is a rite of passage for Upper Manhattan tykes. With a maximum depth of less than four feet, it's perfect for squirts who are wary of the deep end. Central Park, enter park from Central Park North at Malcolm X Blvd (Lenox Ave) (212-534-7639, centralparknyc.org)
Staten Island's largest public pool is also one of NYC's oldest—it was built in 1936 during the Great Depression. The main pool can accommodate up to 2,800 swimmers at a time, with a smaller wading pool that's perfect for little ones. There's also a separate diving pool and a collection of spray showers for kids to run through on hot summer days. Murray Julbert Ave between Victory Blvd and Hannah St, Staten Island
McCarren Park Pool
For the first time since 1984, New Yorkers will be able to cool off at this Williamsburg pool. The newly renovated 37,500-square-foot pond accommodates 1,500 swimmers and features eight lap lanes. The pool's shallow-sloped play area is a huge plus; the pool starts off on flat ground and gradually slopes to a depth of 4.6 feet, so cautious kiddies can wade in slowly. Point out the multiple whirlpool jets to your family before rinsing off in the spray showers on the concrete beach and taking a look at the new recreation center. Lorimer St between Bayard St and Driggs Ave, Williamsburg, Brooklyn.
Red Hook Recreation Area
The city's smallest tadpoles lay claim to this spot's biggest attraction: the baby pool. A gate separates the peewee zone from the main pool, so parents need not worry about older kids roughhousing around timid babes. 155 Bay St between Clinton and Henry Sts, Red Hook, Brooklyn.
Tony Dapolito Recreation Center
This downtown pool is hardly the biggest swimming hole in the city, but the chance to turn off a tree- and brownstone-lined street for a dip alongside a Keith Haring mural is extremely charming. 1 Clarkson St at Seventh Ave South.
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